Wingspread Conference: Funding Strategies for Restoration of Areas of Concern
in the Great Lakes Basin
International Joint Commission
The Johnson Foundation
Great Lakes Regional Office
Wingspread - The Johnson Foundation
July 23-25, 1996
On July 23-25, 1996, the International Joint Commission and The Johnson Foundation
convened a conference on Funding Strategies for Restoration of Areas of Concern in the Great
Lakes Basin. Held at The Johnson Foundation's Wingspread meeting facility in Racine,
Wisconsin, the conference brought together 40 agency and community representatives --
including provincial, state, federal and tribal government officials, non-government
organization and Remedial Action Plan public advisory committee members, and IJC
commissioners and staff -- who are involved in developing, implementing and monitoring
restoration activities in Areas of Concern throughout the Great Lakes Basin. The purpose of
the conference was to share and discuss strategies for funding AOC restoration, a critical issue
in many parts of the Basin in an era of reduced government funding to support restoration
efforts at the local level.
The conference consisted of a series of presentations focusing on AOC restoration financing
case studies and strategies, followed by facilitated discussion sessions addressing key aspects of
the funding issue:
- success factors for effective AOC restoration financing;
- barriers to successful AOC restoration financing;
- creative strategies to overcome these barriers; and
- minimum funding requirements to sustain AOC restoration.
This report has been prepared by the conference facilitator and provides his perspectives on the
key messages provided by the conference speakers, as well as the results of the facilitated
2.0 Key Messages from Conference Presenters
The following provides a brief snapshot of some of the key messages presented by conference
speakers regarding funding strategies for AOC restoration financing.
Pierre Béland - Commissioner, Canadian Section, International Joint Commission
- there is money available for AOC restoration financing; we just have to be more creative
to find it. This should include taking advantage of the lessons that we have learned
previously. At last year's Wingspread Conference, Jeff Busch, Director of the State of
Ohio's Lake Erie Office suggested the use of vanity license plates and the use of affinity
credit cards. These two ideas may be applicable elsewhere in the Great Lakes Basin.
the IJC is committed to do what it can to help clean up AOCs and to monitor government
progress in doing so
Tony Wagner - Waterfront Regeneration Trust
- use techniques such as vanity license plates and affinity cards
- be sure to celebrate your successes, both large and small
- in developing and obtaining funding for projects, look beyond the traditional, narrow
definition of "environment" to ensure that economic and community/social aspects are
included; this was a key feature of the Trust's partnership approach in developing the
Ken Hall - Bay Area Restoration Council
- form partnerships with like-minded stakeholders
- seek sponsorships; capitalize on the trend toward "cause marketing" in the business
- develop a logo and identity for marketing purposes
- create an endowment fund
- obtain necessary status to conduct fundraising activities (the WRT has Schedule 3 status
- engage and utilize volunteers
- carefully consider your group's organizational structure; take the time up front to
determine how your group will operate, your mandate and goals and objectives
- new thinking, strategies are needed for PACs that want to move beyond their original
advisory role; the key is for your group to take ownership of its own destiny
David Leech - St. Lawrence River Institute of Environmental Studies
- obtain charitable status to enable fundraising
- attract members to your group and charge membership fees
- form partnerships with other community organizations (e.g. schools) to develop and fund
projects that meet mutual objectives
- mobilize your volunteers
Dave Patterson - Quinte Public Advisory Committee
- "Just do it"...
- Wisely - pursue scientifically sound, economically and socially responsible solutions to
local environmental problems
- But don't do it alone - continually look for new partners with compatible mandates
- Loudly - get the word out about your successes to anyone who will listen
- be creative, build on your organization's strengths, but stay focused and true to your
- start small, focusing on projects your community can afford, and build on these
successes; then, don't be shy about lobbying business and government for the bigger $
needed for larger restoration projects
- remember "what you like about your AOC" to give you the strength and desire to carry
on in difficult times
- interactive dialogue, creative lateral thinking and strategic planning are the keys to
moving your PAC from an advisory/watch dog role to a more sustainable, viable
- small amounts of seed $ can go a long way and achieve big results if volunteers are used
Rick Brewer/Brett Kaull - Ashtabula River Partnership
- develop a business plan to move your organization towards sustainability
- get in-kind support from community partners to conserve precious funds
- take an "in your face" approach to marketing your RAP (e.g. make personal
presentations to area municipal councils)
- get public input to develop support for your initiatives
- focus your efforts on emerging issues in your area (e.g. cage aquaculture)
- form alliances with local like-minded organizations to share resources
- pursue local and regional fundraising opportunities
- obtain corporate sponsorships
- success factors for the Partnership
- conducting outreach to get widespread support
- cultivating media support
- the ability of the Partnership to mobilize fundraising efforts using local funds to
leverage federal funding
- the short-time for the remediation effort helps maintain momentum
- its composition (many diverse stakeholders) and consensus-based approach
Beth Admire - Indiana Department of Environmental Management
- form a foundation, under U.S. 501(c)(3), to raise funds
- consider issuing tax exempt bonds to finance clean-up efforts
- in developing creative funding, partnership proposals, it is critical to get senior staff
involved and on-side early; this is particularly true for the regulators
David Timm - Wells Kingdom Workers/Indiana University
- consider setting up an enforcement-based trust fund, where companies required to pay
fines do so into the fund rather that into general revenue; the fund could be used to
finance remediation efforts
- use grant-pooling to fund big ticket projects
Jan Miller - U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
- the key to fundraising is to make it as easy as possible for the donor to give; treat donors
as you would like to be treated
- success factors
- you need passion for your cause
- a willingness to ask for $
- training and know-how
- a marketable product
- an informed constituency
- a workable plan
- remember the donor's "Bill of Rights", including the right to...
- know what will happen to the donation
- access financial information on request
- be assured the donation will be used for the purpose it was given
- receive honest answers
- have his/her name deleted from the fundraising list
- say no
- the best method for fundraising is face-to-face contact; a personal letter with telephone
follow-up is second best
Tillie MacDonald - Collingwood
- in the U.S., there are a wide range of federal funding authorities and programs available
for AOC restoration work; generally, these are under-utilized by RAPs
- various authorities and programs may be geared to funding each phase of restoration:
planning, development and implementation
- don't rely on any one program for funding; look at all options
- operate your community organization as you would a small business; remember the
bottom line and make sure you are compensated for your services
- the key is to define what you do and go out and sell it; if you don't ask for $, you won't
- know your target market; conduct outreach to get community buy-in - the politicians will
come on board quickly as buy-in spreads
- focus on outcomes and successes in spreading the word
- a good relationship with the media is critical
Gail Krantzberg - Ontario Ministry of Environment and Energy
- seek incorporation for your group to enable you to manage your own affairs and funds
- develop partnerships with local groups (e.g. service clubs)
- new funding partnerships for RAP implementation are needed now, particularly in
Ontario where fiscal restraint is happening right at the peak of RAP implementation
- we need to sell our success with RAPs by celebrating our progress
Tanya Cabala - Lake Michigan Federation
- provide "tool kits" to PACs, containing practical information on marketing, fundraising,
- conduct collective fundraising (e.g. on a provincial scale) to raise funds for high-cost
implementation efforts (e.g. sediment remediation)
- set up a Great Lakes private/public partnership fund to provide a pool of funds for
- market the success of RAPs to senior management of government agencies and the public
- affinity cards
- Basin-wide fundraising events
- it is critical to cultivate local ownership of the RAP; with ownership comes to desire to
persevere and succeed
- it is important for PACs to establish and maintain good relationships with government
agencies; media support is also crucial
Ronald Baba - Oneida Nation, Wisconsin
- obtain seed funding for staff support
- in pursuing restoration efforts, keep in mind several Oneida sayings: "fight in a good
way" and "be of a good mind"
- develop partnerships with key stakeholders to facilitate project development and
implementation; Oneida Nation has entered into partnerships with local municipalities,
environmental groups, and local farmers to pursue specific projects
use local resources to leverage federal grants
3.0 Towards Successful AOC Restoration Financing: Results of the
Facilitated Discussion Sessions
3.1 Success Factors for Effective AOC Restoration Financing
In sharing and discussing AOC restoration success stories from around the Great Lakes Basin,
conference participants identified a number of common ingredients or success factors which can
provide the foundation for successful restoration financing. A synthesis of these success factors
is presented below:
Innovation and Creativity
Now more than ever, AOCs have be innovative and creative to finance and sustain restoration
activities. This means that people must:
Organizational Development and Sustainability
- "dare to dream"
- "remember that there are no rules - don't stop at the wall"
- "think outside the box".
To move towards sustainability, AOC community organizations and PACs need:
- energy and commitment
- to clearly define what they want to achieve; their role; their niche
- to continually demonstrate and prove that they do good work
- to consider organizational opportunities such as incorporation, setting up a foundation,
- to become informed about where funding opportunities lie
- to take a business approach to running their organizations.
Partnerships are key to successful AOC restoration financing. This can encompass:
Communications and Involvement
- project-specific partnerships involving like-minded organizations with compatible
- unique links between partners representing diverse interests (such as historical/cultural
preservation and remediation)
- collaborative effort to secure funds
- mobilizing volunteers.
To spread the word about RAPs and sustain involvement and interest, AOC community
organizations and PACs need to:
3.2 Barriers to Successful AOC Restoration Financing
- communicate and illustrate the economic benefits/spin-offs of restoration
- demonstrate success by illustrating incremental improvements - success attracts public
and political support ("the velcro factor")
- where possible, transfer credit for this success to the community as a whole
- educate children about the importance of restoration and encourage children to educate
- focus on the positive aspects of restoration by avoiding confrontation, negativity and
Conference participants also identified barriers to successful AOC restoration financing. These
barriers generally fell into the following three categories:
Figure 1, "The Barrier Mosaic" illustrates participants' perspectives on the range of barriers and
challenges facing those involved in funding AOC restoration.
- Financing - Dealing with Government Cutbacks;
- Communications and Sustaining Public and Stakeholder Involvement; and
- The Regulatory Framework.
Figure 1: Barriers to Successful AOC Restoration Financing
"The Barrier Mosaic"
|Financing: Dealing With Government Cutbacks
||Communications and Sustaining Public/Stakeholder Involvement
||The Regulatory Framework
- obtaining local funds (donations,industry contributions)
- competition for funding (available funds are too few and declining)
- coordinating major fundraising
- magnitude of the problem: cost and area extent)
- forming effective partnerships
- lack of education on creative financing; lack of understanding
of financing mechanisms
- lack of information on funding processes, opportunities
- not enough experience, expertise in fundraising
- uncertain gov't commitment
- lack of communications to all stakeholders
- lack of sense of urgency
- maintaining public interest as PACs move from advisors to implementors
- public involvement with local leadership
- lack of local leadership
- recruiting to allow revitalization of PACs
- the will to succeed (community advocates, decision makers)
- regulatory support
- regulation as a double-edged sword (brings industry to the
table but also scares them away)
3.3 Strategies to Overcome the Barriers
Conference participants then proposed a set of strategies to help overcome these barriers:
Financing: Dealing With Government Cutbacks
- Involve local businesses.
- target local business to provide in-kind services
- attract interest by demonstrating the benefits of restoration to business
- Develop a trust fund to provide restoration funding at the local level.
- Implement the RAP in an incremental fashion as funding permits.
- develop detailed implementation plans for specific restoration actions/projects; seek funds
opportunistically; celebrate completion of individual projects
- use benchmarks (related to the overall RAP goals) to demonstrate incremental
- Communicate funding needs to government.
- Provide education for AOC communities via training seminars on creative financing and
new ways of doing business (e.g. consensus decision making).
- Pursue coordinated, cooperative effort for "serious" fundraising.
- Recruit and train "RAP Practitioners", who could go to any AOC and evaluate/audit the
current state of the RAP and offer advice for moving forward.
Communications and Sustaining Public/Stakeholder Involvement
- Develop an award system which encourages involvement.
- Celebrate successes at every opportunity. Recognize that it is essential to market success
to garner support for future funding.
- Involve stakeholders in active roles - "give the key people a job to do".
- Communicate RAP successes to the broader community.
- Undertake a concerted effort to get local government(s) buy-in for RAP implementation.
- Regularly communicate with the public and stakeholders regarding the RAP process,
directions and needed modifications. Give the community opportunities to contribute to
approach and directions.
- Encourage meaningful (physical) grass roots activities that support RAP goals (e.g.
Water Watchers, river cleanups)
- Assess upcoming tasks and recruit new participants to meet task goals while maintaining
communication with those who have "completed" their immediate tasks ("get the right
people for the right tasks").
- Draw attention to a relevant local issue with broad appeal.
- Develop partnerships.
The Regulatory Framework
- Encourage and promote a combination of "carrot and stick" approaches.
- Stimulate a new philosophy for regulatory agencies in view of the contemporary funding
3.4 Minimum Funding Requirements to Sustain AOC Restoration
Conference participants also addressed the question of what might constitute minimum funding
requirements that AOCs need from government to sustain restoration efforts. Ideally, it was
noted that original funding levels should be maintained. If this is not possible, it was suggested
that AOCs need enough support to ensure that interest in AOC restoration is maintained at the
local level. Without this local interest, sustaining RAP implementation will not be possible.
It was also suggested that support need not necessarily come in the form of monetary allocations.
AOC communities also need:
- technical and administrative support;
- updates on changes, developments in legislation;
- accurate and timely information.
The Wingspread conference provided an excellent opportunity for participants to share and
discuss issues and opportunities relating to AOC restoration financing. In particular, the
conference enabled the exchange of information and experiences among PAC members, RAP
coordinators and agency staff concerning options and strategies for continuing their important
work in an era of reduced financial resources.
For additional information contact:
Bruce A. Kirschner
RAP and LaMP Coordinator
International Joint Commission
Windsor, Ontario N9A 6T3
(519) 257-6710 or (313) 226-2170